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Suicidal man saved from plunge off overpass

POSTED June 8, 2017 12:12 p.m.

A man contemplating jumping from an overpass in Turlock was brought back from the brink by two Good Samaritans and a team of Turlock Police officers trained in crisis negotiations.

The incident began shortly before 11 p.m. June 2 when the Turlock Police Department received a report of a suicidal man attempting to jump off the West Canal Street overpass of Highway 99.

Turlock Police Sgts. Russell Holeman and Steve Rodrigues, along with Officer Hiram Duncan were the first to respond to the scene and found a large adult male sitting on the rail with his back to Highway 99, leaning backwards and two Good Samaritans holding on to him.

It just happened to be that Rodrigues and Duncan are members of the Turlock Police Department Hostage Negotiation Team, with Holeman serving as the team supervisor. Rodrigues and Duncan were the first to start talking with the man and after about 10 minutes they had convinced him to come back over the rail. The sergeants and the officer were able to assist the man in climbing back of the railing and to safety. He was transported to a local hospital for further treatment.

“It was incredible that the first three of us there were all trained HNT members,” said Holeman. “Sgt. Rodrigues and Officer Duncan did an outstanding job connecting with this man, who was in a very bad place.”

The Turlock Police Department has several members on the Hostage Negotiation Team that receive extensive training in verbally deescalating exceptionally tense situations. Every member of the team is selected through a competitive testing process.

“I am very proud of our officers and the compassion they show on a daily basis,” said Turlock Police Chief Nino Amirfar. “Turlock Police Department is committed to protecting this community.”

The Turlock Police Department wants the community to know that help can be reached 24 hours a day by calling the Stanislaus Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Suicide Prevention line at (209) 558-4600 or 1 (800) 273 TALK. 

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